Saturday, 20 August 2011

Scent of a woman

Have you ever been driven in a car, where the driver turned out to be a blind man? It happened to us, not so long ago, and I can assure you, certainly with the film “Scent of a woman” in mind, that is no fun! In this film Al Pacino, a blind ex high army officer, convinces his chaperone, a young sudent, that it is safe to make a “slow” test drive in a Ferrari, whilst he, Al Pacino is driving.
In our village Chapaize we come regularly across an elderly couple, making a short walk just outside the village. The man wears dark glasses, and always walks, or shuffles alongside his wife, with whom he holds arms. Whenever they hear a sound they stop, and wait in the soft shoulder until the noise is over. It seems obvious, that the man is either blind, or has very poor eyesight.
At one of the wreath layings in Cormatin we bumped into this man again. He was very jovial, said hello to us, did not wear dark glasses, and was with another woman whom we also know from Chazelle. The wreath was going to be laid at the monument in Bois Dernier, too far to walk for any French person. The woman offered us a lift, and we got into the car. To our big surprise (and horror!) the man climbed behind the steering wheel and drove off. Luckily we drove in convoy, and very slowly; further the distance between the town hall and Bois Dernier was not more than a couple of hundred metres, which eased the pain a tiny bit. We did not know how quickly we had to leave the car when it stopped. Fortunately the couple did not return to Cormatin for the vin d’honneur; they had to go back to Chazelle straight after the wreath laying. We talked about the incident for weeks to follow, and never figured out 100 % how the whole thing fitted together. But the most logical explanation seemed to be the following: the man who gave us a lift was not the same person as the blind or half blind man, even though they looked exactly the same. The driver walked normally and quietly, although not fast, and he walked on his own. The blind man however, always shuffled very slowly, and always held his wife by the arm. The only conclusion could be, that both look-alike men were (twin?) brothers, and that both lived in Chazelle. That would also explain the wife swapping. Anyway, in future we only accept a lift from people we are sure of they possess full eye-sight; we do not want to take any risk in this matter anymore!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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